Museums containing strange relics or extravagant objects of any sort, bars and restaurants sporting rather bizarre furnishings and delicacies you’d not expect. Let us tell you about Rome’s not to be missed unusual places – jump into our Buzz Buggy or onto our Vespa and be ready for an unforgettable adventure …. Well almost!
1) The Race Club
As engine lovers in general, we at Buzz4tours couldn’t not mention this speakeasy bar located near the Colosseum. As we all know speakeasies were places in the States where alcohol was sold illegally during the Prohibition. Rome loving all things American, has made places like that proliferate around the city, and this is one of them. The style reminds one of a garage but they don’t fix engines here, they serve high-quality quirky cocktails instead, cheers!
Address: Via Labicana, 52
Opening times: Mondays to Saturdays, 22.00 to 4.00.
If chocolate is your thing then you’ll be in the right place. Dimmed lights and the near mystical atmosphere make this bar the perfect place to spoil yourselves during an afternoon or for a chocolate based after dinner treat. The cakes are delicious as is Said’s creamy and warm “Tortino”. For something unusual the chocolate stuffed ravioli are a must…Of course you can wash everything down with an inevitably, chocolate based cocktail. Said is located in the San Lorenzo district not far from Termini train station.
Address: Via Tiburtina 135
Opening times: Tuesdays to Sundays 10.00 to 00.30. Closed Mondays.
1) The Souls in Purgatory Museum
You will find it in the suggestive neo-gothic chapel of the Sacro Cuore del Suffragio overlooking the right bank of the Tiber level with the Prati district. It contains documents and testimonies that aim to prove the existence of Purgatory and hence the souls of the deceased.
Address: Lungotevere Prati 12
Opening hours: 7.30-11.00 / 16.30-19.30
2) The National Museum of Pasta Foods
Getting back to more earthly subjects…. If greed is the capital sin that most represents you, then you cannot possibly miss this museum dedicated to the Italian dish “par excellence”: pasta! Nestled in a piazza of the Trevi Fountain, it houses 11 exhibition rooms which will tell you all about the history of pasta over the last 8 centuries and show you the machinery used to produce it. Nutritional info and topical works of art from the ancient past to modern times, complete the curiosities on offer.
Address: Piazza Scanderbeg, 117
Tickets: Adults 10 €, youngsters under 18 € 7
Opening times: 9:30 – 17:30 (excluding Italian national holidays)
3) Vigamus – The VideoGame Museum
Insert Coin, Play, You Win, You Die, Game Over… if these somewhat menacing phrases marked your adolescence (and the later years) this museum is right up your street. Enter and rediscover the world of Video Games on two parallel planes: the first one being rather more theoretical, reconstructs the history of the video game from birth to present times. The second, somewhat more interactive, has a vintage video game arcade at public disposal for a fun “retro gaming” challenge to the last bit. There are also temporary exhibitions covering interesting subjects.
Address: Via Sabotino 4
Tickets: Adults €8, children € 5
Opening time: Tuesdays through to Sundays 16:00 – 22:00. Closed Mondays
Discover our “Rome Things Unusual” tour
1) The Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo
A circular church? Are you quite sure? Absolutely, not only does it exist but happens to be one of the most ancient Christian churches in Italy. Hidden behind the walls of Nero’s Aqueduct, the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo was built between 468 and 483 A.D. under the auspices of Pope Simplicius. It constitutes three concentric circles which converge on the altar called the “Aula” (great-hall) placed in the center. According to studies the shape derives from a pre-existing Roman temple dedicated to the cult of the Great Mother, probably the Goddess Isis. A beautiful Byzantine-style mosaic and Villa Celimontana nearby, deserve admiring.
Address: Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo, 7
Tickets: Free entrance
Opening time: Tuesdays-Saturdays 9.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 17.00 – Sundays 9.30 – 12.30. Closed Mondays
2) The Church of Saint Mary Cosmedin
Located in the famous Piazza of the Mouth of Truth, the wonderful church of St.Mary Cosmedin is known for hosting the highly venerated relic of St.Valentine, not the patron Saint of those in love but another St.Valentine, a Roman priest who died as martyr in Rome. Tradition has it, that a number of couples stop in front of the relics and offer their vows to the Saint. This analogy will have sparked off the process to discover the origins of the Lovers’ holiday, somehow tied to the celebrations of the Roman Lupercalia, the ancient pagan rites dedicated to the god of fertility Luperco.
Address: Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 19
Opening times: Every day 9:30 17:00 or 18:00 (depending on the season)
3) The Church of St. Mary of the Prayers and Death (Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte)
Would you like to see something really spooky? Well in that case you can’t miss this church out. It was founded in 1573 by a fraternity whose job it was to collect cadavers from out of the city walls and of those who drowned in the Tiber, and give them a proper Christian burial.
The interior’s inscriptions and frames recalling death (its symbol being an hourglass) are sad to say the least, but if you want to cheer yourself up you could always visit the macabre underground crypt… you can’t wait right?
Address: Via Giulia, 262
Opening times: variable, best check before going!
Now that you know where to go for unusual places, Buzz or Vespa will be the way to get there!